Cameroon: 167 Media Organs Receive Government Subsidies
Some 167 communication Enterprises out of the 209 who applied have been selected as beneficiaries of subvention given to the media by the Government of Cameroon for the 2014 session.
Communication Minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakary told reporters in a press briefing on Thursday, October 30, 2014. Speaking at the gathering, the Minister said the 2014 session witnessed an increase of six applications compared to the 2013 session. He said 42 applications were rejected.
“At the end of the Session of the Commission, held on October 16, 2014, 71 print press enterprises – 5 dailies, 1 bi-weekly, 39 weeklies, 14 monthlies, 9 bi-monthly publications, 2 quarterlies and 1 newspaper publishing three times per month; 11 commercial radios, 5 televisions, 3 producers, 6 printing press, 29 professional associations, 42 community radios”, he noted.
Tchiroma posited that since the setting up of this mechanism, members of the commission have adopted resolutions to improve the eligibility criteria for the grant of government subsidy. Some of the resolutions include:
The continuous functioning of radios and televisions, the permanent visibility and animation of information websites, the respect of the periodicity for the print press, elements evidencing that the printing press really print those newspapers, the presence of the taxpayer card in the application.
Making a balance sheet of the expenditure to subsidize the press, he said from 2003 to 2007, CFAF 150 million per year was inscribed in the budget. From 2008 to 2014, CFAF 250 million per year was given out except for 2009 when the envelope amounted to CFAF 150 million. Thus, a total of CFAF 2billion 385million francs has been distributed to more than 900 beneficiaries from the private communication sector from 2003-2014.
He also talked of some novelties to be introduced in the offing.
“It is therefore envisaged to transform the current subsidy system towards the creation of a Special Trust Fund for the development of private media, fuelled by resources generated by communication activities with huge revenues. Said Tchiroma
“Allow me to announce to you that the preparatory works for the setting up of this Special Trust Fund have been completed and that the Minister of Finance is already hand on deck to eventually inscribe it in the 2015 draft finance bill which will be submitted to the parliament during its forthcoming session. He added
“In this vein, allow me to announce, the forthcoming reactivation of the Press Card Commission whose new clothes would surely sustain the credibility and enhance the social image of the journalism profession in our country, thanks particularly to a better selection of eligible persons, as well as the effective advantages attached to holders of this identification document for media professionals”. Continued the Communication boss
By Lionel Tchoungui Bidzogo